2nd Look: Giro Zone MIPS Helmet
Size Tested: Large (59-62.5 cm)
Color: Matte Titanium
Blister’s Measured Weight: 508 grams
- Small (52-55.5 cm)
- Medium (55.5-59 cm)
- Large (59-62.5 cm)
- Extra Large (62.5-65 cm)
- MIPS – Multi-directional Impact Protection System
- Hybrid Construction – Durable Hard Shell; Ventilated Upper; Lightweight In-Mold Lower & Sidewalls
- Low-profile design
- In Form 2 Fit System, Vertical Tuning
- Thermostat Control Adjustable Venting
- POV Camera Mount included
- Fidlock Magnetic Buckle Closure
- XT2 Anti-Odor Protection
- Compatible With Aftermarket Giro Audio Systems by Outdoor Tech
- Seamless Compatibility With All Giro Goggles
Test Locations: Porters Ski Area & Craigieburn Valley, NZ; Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Vail (+ backcountry) Colorado; Mt. Baker, WA; Jackson Hole, WY
Days Tested: ~40
The Giro Zone MIPS is the next offering down from the Giro Range MIPS, Giro’s flagship model. While it has all the features you’d expect from a high-end helmet, it doesn’t have the Range’s unique shell-adjustable fit construction (Conform Fit), while also lacking the higher price tag. But the comfort and secure fit of the Zone MIPS is still a step above other helmets that I’ve used in the past.
Cy Whitling reviewed the Zone MIPS late last season, and I’ve spent most of my season in the Zone as well. So here is my take on the Zone MIPS.
First, to get a good sense of a what a “good helmet fit” even means, you may want to listen to our two podcasts (episodes 18 & 19) on helmet designs, safety features, and fit. (Episode 19 is with Giro’s Sr. Director of R&D, Rob Wesson.)
I’ve owned a lot of Giro helmets over the years since they fit me well, and this year’s Zone MIPS definitely ranks at the top of the comfort scale for me. While the overall shape is very similar to the Giro S5 and Montane models, I find the Zone MIPS to be more comfortable than either of them. When dialing down the fit adjustment, I don’t feel any pressure points like I do with the other helmets — it’s a smooth constriction of the entire perimeter of the helmet. The padding is also a step above in terms of comfort. From an appearance standpoint, the Zone MIPS has a higher profile than the Montane.
As always, we recommend that you make sure your helmet fits your head well. A good fit is very important, and has a huge affect on how effective it actually will be in terms of protection.
As Cy mentions in his review, the Giro Zone MIPS is a hybrid construction. The top of the helmet is a hardshell, good for durable protection from things like tree branches. The lower parts of the shell are in-mold construction for lighter weight. That said (and as Cy notes) the 508 gram Zone MIPS is not a particularly light helmet; the Giro Montane is noticeably lighter at 380 grams.
We’ve talked about MIPS a lot here at Blister. The basic concept is that it helps protect against brain injuries created by rotational impacts. I won’t repeat how MIPS works, but instead, direct you again to our podcast with Giro’s Rob Wesson.
As one would expect, goggle integration is excellent between the Zone MIPS and the Giro Contact goggles. With the Contact, there’s a very slight gap between the frame of the goggle and the helmet brim, allowing for excellent ventilation via Giro’s Stack Vent system. Even If I got snow or moisture inside the goggles, I found them to be very resistant to fogging up when moving.
The perimeter of the goggle foam mates well with the interior the helmet, so despite the gap with the frame (for ventilation), there’s no hint of a gaper gap at all, and your forehead definitely won’t get cold. The integration is seamless.
With the Smith IO goggle, the integration is still decent, albeit not quite as perfect; the IO goggles round off a bit more toward the sides. However, the Stack Vent system will still work quite well with the IOs. So as always, we suggest that you check the fit and integration of goggles and helmets, since everyone’s face and head shape is different.
In addition to a slick venting system for keeping goggles from fogging, the Giro Zone MIPS also has 11 vents, 5 of which are closeable with a slider on the top of the helmet. I found the slider quite stiff and somewhat difficult to operate, even with the helmet off and no gloves on. In addition, the vents didn’t close completely. Cy didn’t have any problems with his helmet, however, and after talking to Giro, it’s an issue they haven’t run into in the past, and the helmet would simply be replaced or refunded under warranty.
Compared to the Giro Zone MIPS, I found the vents on the Giro Montane to be much easier to open and close (though difficult to do with gloves on due to the design of the switch). The vents aren’t particularly large, and I found the Zone MIPS to be a bit warm for strenuous activity (though I find this to be true of most helmets). That said, you can still feel cool air coming through the vents when open.
NEXT: Other Features, Etc.